Cuomo Heads To Puerto Rico, Vows To Help After Devastating Earthquakes

Erica Brosnan
January 14, 2020 - 1:16 pm
Andrew Cuomo

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images


ALBANY (WCBS 880) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he will be heading to Puerto Rico this week to offer help after a devastating 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck the island.

“The point of the visit is basically to assess the damage and to determine how we can best help,” the governor told reporters.

The Democrat plans to travel to the island on Tuesday and Wednesday. He says the goal is to help in any way possible.

He says he’ll be asking Puerto Rican officials: “Can we help with engineering? Can we help with a power plant? Can we help with supplies? What do they need that we can best provide?”

Southwestern Puerto Rico still is experiencing some shaking ever since the Dec. 28 earthquake. The island has experienced over 1,200 additional earthquakes in the aftermath, with a little over 70 with a magnitude greater than 3.5.

Hundreds of buildings have toppled and much of the island remains without power.

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz told WCBS 880’s Lynda Lopez that thousands of Puerto Ricans are still afraid to go to a shelter and are sleeping in the street since they are afraid of buildings collapsing.

Meanwhile, organizations from New Jersey and lawmakers in Long Island have begun to collect donations of all kinds to send to the relief effort.

Cuomo told reporters that New York has been sending state power authority officials to also assist in recovery efforts.

New York City is home to the largest expat community of Puerto Ricans in the constitutional U.S. Knowing this, the city has sent 16 building inspectors and engineers, nine emergency managers and two mental health professionals.

I just want to say what I think New Yorkers are feeling – it's not even believable that after everything Puerto Rico has suffered, that now these earthquakes are causing more and more pain, more destruction, more fear for the people of Puerto Rico,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “You can't even believe what you're seeing before your very eyes.”

Standing among those volunteering to go, de Blasio added one of the things that gives Puerto Ricans hope is people who step up.

“When Puerto Rico's been in trouble, our city workers have stepped up and they've done it selflessly, time and time again,” the mayor said.